Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said it is “incredible we are fighting for everything” after his side reached the FA Cup semi-finals in dramatic fashion to keep their quadruple hopes alive.
City were 12 minutes away from being knocked out of the FA Cup before fighting back to win 3-2 at Swansea.
They are top of the Premier League, in the Champions League quarter-finals and have already won the League Cup.
“Fighting for everything is the most important thing for the club,” he said.
No team has ever won the quadruple of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup in a single season.
But Guardiola, 48, believes the Citizens’ success should be judged by how far they consistently go in competitions rather than just silverware.
“People say we are going to win three or four titles and the day we drop one competition they say it’s a big failure for Manchester City,” the former Spain international told BBC Sport.
“The most incredible thing after what we achieved last season is in this stage we are fighting for everything.
“So, most important for the club – more than winning one title – is having the mentality to be there until the end and fight for the titles in this stage of the season.
“That’s important because for the future, for the new players and managers who are coming, they will learn from this group of players, and this group of people, that we never give up and fight for every single game and title until the end.
“That is the best lesson.”
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager arrived at City in 2016, tasked with moving the club – which had won two Premier League titles in the previous four seasons – to the “whole new level” demanded by its Abu Dhabi owners.
Guardiola did not win a trophy in his debut campaign in England – the first season in his coaching career where he ended up without silverware – before leading City to the Premier League and League Cup in record-breaking fashion last season.
City have won three Premier League titles in the past seven seasons, plus several domestic cups, but have only reached the Champions League semi-finals on one occasion, when they lost to Real Madrid in 2016.
Guardiola’s side will meet Premier League rivals Tottenham in this year’s quarter-finals, with either Italian champions Juventus or Dutch champions Ajax awaiting the winners in the last four.
“People will say not winning the Champions League is a big, big failure for this club but I don’t understand when this comes from former players – they know how difficult it is to win the Champions League or win the title,” Guardiola said.
“It is so difficult, because the opponents are so good and we have 10 months with a lot of games.”
‘I’m sorry it was offside’
City, who last won the FA Cup in 2011, showed their fighting qualities as they survived a scare against Swansea thanks to Sergio Aguero’s late winner.
Substitute Aguero beat Swansea keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt with a diving header, although replays showed the Argentina striker was marginally offside.
But the video assistant review system was not in use at the Liberty Stadium, despite having been used in City’s third and fourth-round ties at their Etihad Stadium home.
City, fighting back from 2-0 down with 21 minutes to play, had levelled in contentious circumstances too when Swansea defender Cameron Carter-Vickers was judged to have tripped replacement Raheem Sterling in the area and Aguero’s penalty hit the post before rebounding in off Nordfeldt for an own goal.
“I’m sorry it was offside,” Guardiola said afterwards of the winner.
“I don’t understand why VAR is not used in this competition at this stage. Hopefully, next season this won’t happen.”
Speaking on Match of the Day, former England captain Alan Shearer said: “It is very wrong and very unfair. Swansea’s stadium could have been equipped for VAR, they were a Premier League team not long ago and they will feel hard done by tonight and rightly so.”